When I was quite young, my mother died on Easter Sunday. Knowing the importance of the day, my children gather a couple of weeks in advance to pay homage, in their quiet and knowing way. It was two Wednesdays before this milestone anniversary of 2021, and our twins were coming home for the weekend. I had been in a 12-hour-straight workday marathon, and I wanted to clear my head before I engaged with everyone. I quickly rushed home and put on my “dog walking” attire—a big hat, comfy pants, and running shoes. I quickly grabbed the dogs, and as I was leaving our home, one of the twins pulled into our driveway with his puppy, a black Lab named Marlin, who I included on the walk.
Imagine if you will, as I was walking and talking on the phone, the three unleashed labs run across our yard and head for the Cotton Wood Trail—a part of my daily routine. In an instant, my husband’s hunting Lab TAR, a stout and incredibly fast dog changed directions to chase the puppy. Unfortunately, there was one unintended obstacle blocking his path . . . me. In a charged gallop, TAR T-boned my leg, throwing me in the air, causing me to land squarely on the left side of my body.
There are so many teachable moments; dogs on leashes . . . no cell phones . . . the universe calling me to slow down, to be present . . . Today, I am recovering from an injured wrist, four hours of trauma surgery and a compound tibia plateau fracture. The natural frustration and impatience from being immobile are expected. The confusing parts of the situation are the “silver linings” that have come into play: clarity and gratitude.
I believe God speaks to us if we are only willing to listen. To underscore how timing plays into the “volume of what we hear,” you need to read the Doris Day “Icon” feature, written by Laurie Wiles. As she explains, Doris was trapped in a car and T-boned by a train sustaining two compound fractures in her right leg that would require steel rods being inserted from her thigh to her toes. While the doctors pontificated whether she might walk again, Doris knew she would dance.
“Four months stretched to 14 when, toward the end of her recovery, she caught her toe on the living room carpet, fell, and refractured her leg. Bedridden, she sang along to Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Ella Fitzgerald . . . which I believe triggered Doris’s interest in singing.”
The rest is history. I read the article when I was unable to walk. For those who have faced something similar, in a strange way, confinement brings CLARITY. Anything insignificant or on the periphery simply falls away. The important things in life; family, work passions, relationships and most importantly love . . . rise to the top. If you are listening to God through your inner voice, you will hear the answers you seek.
Daily habits are wonderful because you are not required to think; autopilot is quintessentially easy. Abrupt changes in daily routines caused by injury (and Covid -19) undergird our malaise and depression. When our anchoring “time consumers” are gone, “the unknowns” (which are part of the healing recovery process) disorient, making you feel alone. The physical being is unique which also means we all heal differently, and therefore, no recovery is the same . . . which effectively isolates. I have found that the feelings of loneliness and isolation are the doorway to “darkness.” Over the past several months, I have learned that the practice of GRATITUDE is “lightness,” and the best antidote to isolation, loneliness, or “darkness.” Doris Day reminds us of just that: “Gratitude is riches,” she said.
Inspiring women. (Anecdotal stories)
Our summer issue focuses on literature and music through the personal and professional journeys of our cover model Elizabeth Cook, (country music star) and Inspiring Women, Kristy Woodson Harvey, (“New York Times” celebrated author with an internationally recognized blog “Design Chic”) and Tanya Blount Trotter, (acclaimed Americana vocalist spanning decades with The War and Treaty). Their spirit of gratitude spills onto the pages as each speaks to their unique path and their uncommon perseverance and adaptation.
Graceful living. (Deliberate, spirited, and bold)
The deliberate professional callings of women across the globe span this issue with the intentional life choices of amazing women. Rhonda Leonard’s U-Turn career path (from banker to author to artist), the transformative philanthropy of Cathleen Trigg-Jones’s, Trigg House (where foster, adopted children and families are embraced) and the young Change Creator, aspiring and rising star, pianist Joyce Yang, represent graceful living in many forms. The spirited focus of wellness columnist Martha Wiedemann speaks to releasing your inner voice. Finally, bold living is seen through our pieces on architecture (pools), travel (Italy), entertaining (tablescapes), arts (ballerinas of Degas), fashion (Giambianchi Valli enchante haute couture), and much more.
I end this letter recognizing Doris Day’s life, with gratitude. She taught us by example: to be as uncomplicated as possible and to recognize that the important thing in life is just living and loving.
The ELYSIAN team joins me in thanking you for taking the journey with us.